5 Guitar Songs For Beginners

More tips for this track

I find a good way to keep my place when playing this song is to sing along as I play. If a certain chord change happens on a certain word of the song, then the words can serve as useful markers for us.

Don’t be shy about singing along, even if you don’t have the best voice in the world. Even if someone else is going to be doing the singing when you take this song to an open mic night or a jam in someone’s living room. We’re just singing here to keep our place and know where we’re up to in the song.

If you find that singing puts you off, try counting the beats and bars instead. It’s a bit more of a mechanical way to do things, but some people prefer it.

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guitar songs for beginners

  • Once you get the hang of the chord changes, have a go playing along with the recording. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re playing in time.
  • When playing along, make sure you can hear both your guitar and the recording in equal measure. If one drowns out the other, it defeats the object and becomes difficult to hear that you’re in time and in sync.

Don’t forget about that capo

Remember, if a bass player (or any other musician) want to play along with you and asks you what the chords are, don’t forget that you have a capo on the second fret. A capo raises the key of your guitar so you need to tell them the chords are Bsus2 and Esus2.

To learn more about why capos are such useful tools for guitar beginners read this article: How To Use A Capo

3) ‘A Horse With No Name’ by America

This classic folk rock song from 1972 is another two-chord job, which makes it one of the easiest guitar songs for beginners.

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If you’re a bit too young to remember the ‘70s and are wondering where you know this one from, it’s been featured in a few popular TV shows such as The Simpsons and Breaking Bad and the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto.

Top Tip: Some of the worst guitar songs for beginners are things like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Happy Birthday’. If your guitar teacher tries to teach you these songs, fire them immediately…!

The two chords we need here are Em7 and D6/9

guitar songs for beginners

Don’t be put off by weird-looking chord names like D6/9. Like the Em7, it only takes one finger to play it… and you get to impress everyone you know by telling them that you can play a “D6/9”!

  • So whereas we get an Em7 by pressing down the A string at the second fret, we get a D6/9 by pressing down the G string at the second fret.
  • Remember with the D6/9, try to just strum the four thinnest strings. Avoid playing the low E and the A strings. (The 6th and 5th strings.)

So basically, we can play this entire song using just one finger!

The sequence is one bar of each chord in a repeating pattern.

Em7            | D6/9             |

Unlike our previous two songs, this one has a shuffle feel. In layman’s terms, this means that our up-strums come a bit later than they would in a straight time feel.

Watch this video for a clearer understanding of how to strum ‘A Horse With No Name’.

As with ‘Born In The USA’, don’t be afraid to do your own thing with the strumming once you get into it.

The aim is not to copy the record strum for strum, but rather to play in time with the right feel.

As with all the songs on this list, take your time getting comfortable with both the chord shapes and the strumming.

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4) ‘Sons & Daughters’ by The Decemberists

This song is the closing track off The Decemberists’ fourth album, ‘The Crane Wife’, released in 2006. Give it a listen:

Like ‘A Horse With No Name’ you may recognise it from the soundtrack of a few popular TV shows such as The River and The Office.

This song also has something of a folky shuffle feel to it and uses two chords. Dsus2 and G.

guitar songs for beginners

Now, we have a choice here as to what G we use. We could use the same G6 shape we’ve used in some of the previous examples, but I reckon it’s quicker to go for our high up sounding G as it uses just one finger and is a lot closer to the Dsus2.

Also, because this song has a lot of up-strums, it’s best if the focus is on the higher strings (the thinnest ones).

Check this article out for more help: How To Miss Some Strings Out While Strumming

‘Sons & Daughters’ has one bar of each chord in a repeating pattern.

Dsus2              | G                 |

easy guitar songs for beginners

Lets have a go at strumming it…

Watch this video to see how to strum the track:

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This is one of the harder guitar songs for beginners here. Notice how you need to add some deadening to create that syncopated feel? We get that by releasing our grip on the chords, just for a moment.

  • We don’t remove our hand from the fretboard, we just relax the pressure on the strings.
  • This kills the notes immediately and we can use this to create rhythm.

Deadening is an intermediate technique (so you’ll find it hard), but give it a try, it’s great fun.

Final tips for this track

A few final pointers for this one:

  • While I do suggest playing these songs along with the record, at the same time, I’d also suggest getting comfortable with the chords and the strumming pattern first.
  • If you’re struggling at all with the rhythm of this song, slow it right down for yourself to begin with. This is harder than the other songs here, so don’t sweat it if you find it tough at first!

Remember, just because these songs are easy doesn’t mean they don’t take practise and patience. Take your time with them. Even the easiest guitar songs for beginners take concentration and focus to perfect.

5) ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E King

Stand By Me Chords

 

The next song we’re going to look at is “Stand By Me” by Ben E King. This is another of my favourite guitar songs for beginners. A genuine classic.

This song was first released in 1960 and is one my favourite guitar songs for beginners for four reasons:

  1. It includes the four most-useful chords for a beginner guitarist to know.
  2. You can use a wide range of strumming patterns which helps you improve your rhythmic ability.
  3. The chords stay the same all the way through, so once you master the changes you can focus 100% on your strumming.
  4. This is a classic song that most people like. (So it’s a brilliant song to add to your repertoire.)

‘Stand By Me’ chords

  • The chords are: G, Em, C and D.
  • We will play the easier versions of those 4 chords: G6, Em, Cmaj7 and Dsus.

How to play ‘Stand By Me’

Strum each chord once, IN TIME, before attempting full strums. Get used to the chord changes. This helps embed good muscle memory.

It should sound like this:

 

Check out this video from Jack that explains the strumming pattern:

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